Primary school students in Galkayo. Photo credit: Petterik Wiggers.

Recurring drought, decades of conflict and lack of infrastructure have left the economy in a fragile state.

Despite some improved food security, over 700,000 people of a population of 10.5 million in Somalia still rely on humanitarian aid for their survival. More than 2 million more remain in a state of acute crisis.

Moreover, about 1 million Somali refugees have fled to Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Uganda, while over 1 million people remain displaced in Somalia. The conflict in Yemen has meant thousands of Somalis and Yemenis fleeing the crisis there are now landing back in Somalia.

Though it’s not easy to work in Somalia, over the last 40 years we have nurtured partnerships with local Somali civil society organizations to provide emergency relief and development. Through our partners, we have been able to reach more than 2 million people since January 2014, from Somaliland, to Puntland, to Central and Southern Somalia.

Oxfam in Somalia

Oxfam wants to see a Somalia where poor women and youth are able to thrive and survive in safety and dignity in spite of the stresses and shocks they face.

We do this by creating equitable access to and increased control over productive resources, wider access to sustainable and positive livelihoods, improving basic service delivery, access to impartial humanitarian aid, and poor women and youth having influence over decision making processes at all levels. 

We work on the following areas:

Promoting active citizenship and gender justice

Oxfam aims to empower women and young people to advocate for and claim their rights. We work to strengthen social organizations, as stable and accountable local institutions are necessary to tackle the recurrent conflicts and crises in Somalia.

Providing humanitarian assistance

We have been supporting people affected by drought and conflict in Lower Shabelle, Mogadishu, Middle/Lower Juba and Gedo regions with safe water, sanitation facilities and hygiene promotion. We’re also providing livelihood support mainly through cash relief, cash for work and skills training. We are working to strengthen national humanitarian actors to be set up better to deliver humanitarian aid. Throughout, we focus on the rights and needs of women.

Creating resilience and rebuilding sustainable livelihoods

Building on our humanitarian relief work in Somalia, our livelihoods work helps to build and strengthen the resilience of communities to shocks by ensuring there is adequate linkage between relief and development. We focus on supporting the livestock sector, arable farming, natural resource management, alternative livelihoods and climate change adaptation.


Each year, Somali migrants around the world send approximately $1.3 billion home to family and friends in Somalia. This is more than humanitarian assistance, development aid, and foreign direct investment combined and helps to reduce Somalia’s reliance on money from foreign governments and international organizations. Continued support from the Somali diaspora is essential for Somalia to successfully emerge from its protracted humanitarian emergency and political crisis and build the foundations for its long-term development.